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Almanac Archive 2/28/2011

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Save The Date!

Join VCS for the last
Winter Walk of the Season!

Pilot Hill Farm
March 13, 1:00 pm
Walks are free and open to the public, cider and cookies will be served.
Walks are subject to change; please call ahead 508 693 9588.

80 billion square feet of commercial space needs to be retired or retrofitted over the next 20 to 30 years; there is an enormous market opportunity right in front of us. -Rocky Mt. Institute
Click HERE for more on “whole building retrofits”

Conservation Calendar

Lagoon Pond Study Results

Wednesday March 2 at 2:00 PM

in the Oak Bluffs Selectmen’s Conference room located in the Oak Bluffs Library on Pacific Avenue.

Winter Wanderings
 March 3, 10:30-11:30 am.
Enjoy an easy walk with Naturalist Susie Bowman on Felix Neck trails while the leaves are down and new vistas are opened up. Warm up after your walk with hot beverages in the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary Discovery Room. Members: Free. Non-members: $5 per person
Felix Neck.
Solar Greenhouse Workshop

Mar 8 - Apr 9
A five-week design experience that explores the science, art and technology of building a food and heat producing passive solar greenhouse. Help develop plans for a greenhouse at The FARM Institute and for your own home. First workshop of four. 6:30 to 9 pm. $135 for workshop. Co-sponsored by A.C.E. of MV. To register, call Sidney Morris at 508-627-7007 ext. 104.

Community Forum: Oak Bluffs
Mar 10, 6:00 -7:30 pm
The Martha's Vineyard Museum wants to hear from you as they plan future exhibits. What do you think should be remembered about your town? What gives your town its distinctive character? Come share your ideas and learn from your neighbors. Join the Museum curators in your town to help us tell your story. Refreshments will be provided.

In Season Recipes

Old Fashioned Oyster Stew

2 pints (approximately 32 ounces) small to medium-sized raw shucked local oysters with their liquor (you can buy local West Tisbury Oysters at the Net Result)

4 tablespoons butter

3 cups milk (cream may be added to make it richer)

1 or 2 dashes Tabasco sauce (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Minced parsley, sliced chives, or sliced green onions

The most important factors in preparing Oyster Stew are not boil the milk and do not overcook the oysters. Be careful to avoid overcooking oysters, which causes them to become tough.

Drain the oysters, reserving their liquor. NOTE: I like to strain the oyster liquor with a fine strainer to remove any sand.

In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add oysters and simmer very gently for about 2 to 4 minutes or until the edges of the oysters curl.

While the oysters are simmering, in a separate saucepan over low heat, slowly heat the milk, cream, and oyster liquor (do not boil).

When the oysters are cooked, slowly add the hot milk mixture to the oysters, stirring gently. Season with Tabasco, salt and pepper.

Remove from heat. Serve in warm soup bowls and garnish each bowl with parsley, chives, or green onions and a generous pat of butter.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

February 28, 2011

Local News

Lagoon Pond Study Results are in!

Lagoon Pond seen from the Sailing Camp during the VCS “Ponds in Peril” forum last summer

Due to the declining health of Lagoon Pond, the towns of Oak Bluffs and Tisbury jointly sponsored a wastewater/nitrogen study of the pond conducted by Mike Giggey of Wright Pierce Engineering through the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. Giggey has will be on the Island to present his findings on Wednesday March 2nd at 2:00 PM in the Oak Bluffs Selectmen’s Conference room located in the Oak Bluffs Library on Pacific Avenue. The report should help both towns move forward with plans for improving the water quality of this important pond.

Click HERE for information on the VCS “Ponds in Peril” advocacy program and the next steps needed to save our Great Ponds!
What makes a Great Pond great?

Tisbury Great Pond

Martha's Vineyard is fortunate to have 27 beautifully diverse coastal salt ponds that occupy nearly 9,000 acres of surface area. However, beauty alone does not a Great Pond make.

In order to hold the classification “Great”, a pond must be over ten acres in size and, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, "Ponds that once measured 10 or more acres in their natural state, but which are now smaller, are still considered Great Ponds." There are sixteen Great Ponds on the Vineyard and every town is able to boast at least one within its borders.  Where are they?

Blackpoint Pond
Chilmark Pond
Squibnocket Pond (Gay Head)
Tisbury Great Pond (West Tisbury)
Herring/Edgartown Great Pond
Jobs Neck Pond
Oyster Pond
Paqua Pond
Trapps Pond
Gay Head:
Squibnocket Pond (Chilmark)
Oak Bluffs:
Crystal Lake
Farm Pond
Lake Anthony/Oak Bluffs Harbor
West Tisbury:
Homer Pond
James Pond
Long Pond/Long Cove
Tisbury Great Pond (Chilmark)
Watcha Pond

How do we measure up to Nantucket? They have two; Quicks Hole Pond and Westend Pond.

Push Back on Land Based Wind
By Mark Robinson

Serious, far-along proposals by town governments for wind turbines on the Cape have now been defeated or withdrawn in Eastham, Wellfleet, Orleans, Harwich and Brewster.  Other large-turbine proposals have been rejected in Barnstable and Dennis by the Old Kings Highway Historic District Commission, the latter on a barrier beach. The Cape and Vineyard Energy Collaborative (CVEC) has stopped subsidizing new planning efforts (up to $500,000 for studies and permits), expecting towns to share in the upfront costs.
 The Brewster Planning Board voted 3-3-1 last week, failing to provide the minimum five votes needed for twin 400-foot turbines on Town industrial park land to be leased to CVEC, a county-sponsored collaborative. Even though the turbines would have been more than 1800 feet from the nearest home, the neighborhoods rose up to encourage the Planning Board to defeat them.  The Selectmen and Town Manager fully supported turbines as a revenue producer for town.  An appeal is unclear as yet.

Biodiversity, Food Safety and Genetically Modified Food

A critical aspect of “sustainable” living on Martha’s Vineyard and elsewhere involves awareness of food safety and how food production impacts biodiversity.

In 2010, 86 percent of US maize and 93 percent of soybeans were genetically modified. On January 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the deregulation of a GM alfalfa variety resistant to the widely-used herbicide Roundup. Food safety advocates are deeply concerned that “Roundup Ready Alfalfa” (RRA) will become invasive in natural environments and, among other things, have negative effects on biodiversity.

More biodiversity means more species, more complex interactions among different species, leading to a more stable and healthy ecosystem. Protecting this stability will be an increasingly important adaptation response to climate change.

One of the concerns about genetically modified (GM) plant varieties is that they pass their new traits on to wild relatives, changing their role in the ecosystem by, for example, enabling them to out-compete other species, resulting in reduced biodiversity.

In the agriculture industry, weeds are a costly threat, so GM plants that tolerate weed-killing herbicides are viewed as desirable. This tends to cause the loss of cultivar biodiversity through the use of only a handful of varieties, leading to the unintended consequence of more vulnerability to pest and disease outbreaks.

The powerful seed industry promoting RRA using the slogan, “grow the feed, not the weeds” argued: “in these difficult economic times, America’s farmers need every advantage to stay competitive and help provide a reliable, affordable food supply for the U.S.” Rejecting that argument, Maria Rodale, author and CEO of Rodale, Inc. wrote, “Every once in a while an issue comes along that is so shockingly wrong, that people seem to spontaneously unite in opposition. This is one of those times.”

Read more about “What’s Wrong With GE Alfalfa” HERE
and HERE.